The Crumpled Sock in the Living Room Experiment

how to get kids to pick up their stuff

It had come to my attention that I was the only person picking up wayward items and returning them to their lost homes.  I wondered how long it would take for someone else besides me to pick up these lost items.  Last Tuesday I decided to run an experiment involving a sock. The inhabitants in my house consist of me, Wil and Brad, one husband – Bill, and two dogs.

A sock had been left on the living room floor. How it got there is anyone’s guess. It was the perfect item for my experiment. Here’s what happened…

Day 1 – The sock lay on the floor, in the living room, in plain sight.  No one picked it up.

Day 2 – Crumpled and alone, it remained still.

Day 3 – Still there.  I watched as everyone walked by it today.

Day 4 – Vacuumed around it today.

Day 5 – Used every ounce of restraint to not pick up the sock.  The dog sniffed it.

Day 6 – Crumpled, now dusty, it was still without its partner.

Day 7 – One week was my limit.  I began to feel sorry for the sock.

I called a family meeting.

“I am glad you all can join me for a family meeting.  There is an issue I need to discuss with you,” I said calmly.  All eyes were focused on me in anticipation of the topic.

“Could everyone come to the living room and tell me what you see in here that doesn’t belong?” I asked with a smirk on my face and raised eyebrows.

“Is it the book on the coffee table?”




“What about the blanket on the couch?”

“The dog toy lying over there?”

“Nope,” I answered. I walked over to the sock and stood right by it, hoping it would help.  I stood for awhile as I watched my family trying to find the culprit.  Finally, I took aggressive action.

“Whoever finds the item gets $5!” I said with gusto.  Both kids looked around and pounced on the sock.  Typical.

That is how the sock finally was picked up.

About Tracy Heins 142 Articles
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